America's Obesity Rate at a 10-Year Plateau, Study Finds

WASHINGTON, DC — The same old bad news still holds true today: two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, with one-third of the population in the obese category. But a new report shows that the obesity rate has been at a plateau for 10 years.

The report, based on statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“The increases in the prevalence of obesity previously observed do not appear to be continuing at the same rate over the past 10 years, particularly for women and possibly for men,” the report stated.

For 2007-2008, the obesity rate (defined as those with a BMI of 30 or greater) was 33.8 percent overall. For men, the rate was 32.2 percent, and for women, it was 35.5 percent.

For overweight and obese combined, the study found that 68 percent of the adult population was overweight (BMI of 25 or greater) or obese, with 72.3 percent of men fitting in this category along with 64.1 percent of women.

From 1988-1994, the rate of obesity increased 8 percentage points compared to 1976-1980. However, from 1999-2008, the study found no significant increase in obesity among women. During the same time period, men did have a significant increase in obesity, rising from 27.5 percent to 32 percent, but that rate has not changed between 2003 and 2008, according to the study.

The findings came from analysis of height and weight measurements from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 5,555 U.S. men and women from 2007-2008, which were compared with measurements from 1999-2006.

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